The Color Run 5k, for charity, (and then a crazy dance-fest afterwards).
… And the clean-up.
… And probably, a trashed camera that’s only a week old, even when it was wrapped in plastic beforehand.
Processed today. Great face and talent. 8×10 camera.
Do not miss these stunning photographs of the migration of Siberian reideer, by Sebastiao Salgado, in The Washington Post. This is a true master at work. It’s a full body of work; keep clicking the Right Arrow. (Sit through the initial ad).
On Tuesday, I helped judge some final portrait portfolios, via Skype, for the Photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University (my alma mater, if you can say that if you never graduated). Also judging was Chris Stanford, from Atlanta. Tim Broekema is the professor for that class. Looking back on it, the whole process was pretty intense — seeing all that work at one time, and trying to be honest and not candy-coat the feedback, but also trying to be supportive. I think the last thing a student needs in these crazy times is candy-coating, especially as a senior. Especially as a PJ major. Never before in the history of the world has there been such a glut and oversupply of photographers. At some point, the rent is going to come due, and you gotta do something to not live under the Shelby Street bridge.
Anyway, Tim and Chris and I have been emailing each other, since that day, and today, Tim sent these two links for review. I had been bitching to him about these young kids getting too involved with gear, and flash units, and all the things that keeps them being truly being with their subject — and the importance of avoiding people/photographers that seem too sales-motivated, with hokey gear (to get in the way). I’ll let you fill in the names. I’d teach a class where every student only had one body and a 35 1.4, and they’d duct tape their body on ASA 6400, and wide open, and no other gear, and they just get in the car and go see the world, and hang with interesting people. Be a human being first, and then a photographer second. Chris cited Danny Clinch, during the Skype session; I agree with Chris. I’d probably add Ryan McGinley to the list as well, maybe minus the sparklers.
Anyway, here are these two links. Both links give me hope for young photographers coming out of a photojournalism school in the year 2012.
Edit: After I posted this, I saw this link on Joerg’s site. I love the Artist Statement on the body of work. I feel this about young people — so many options and distractions. Nice images too.
“Every new day gives us hundreds of opportunities. Gigabytes of new information, armfuls of exciting events, kilometres of unexplored places, chances of adventitious meetings – all this is waiting for us with the beginning of each 24-hour time span, which we are to use as effectively and rationally as possible, acting profitably and getting a satisfactory result. It could seem that realization of this fact is sure to inspire us. The problem is that the variety of alternatives and the great number of possibilities result in a deep fear of losing something really essential, missing some unique events or relevant information. Consequently, the fear leads to an inner catatony, a moment of floating in the air, which paralyzes our will and puts us into inexplicable panic. The endless variety of choices that we have to make doesn’t let us decide on anything. Instead of taking up new challenges, we stay at home in our cosy and safe little world which is ready to keep us away from the stream of this impetuous life beyond it.”
A friend shared this work with me. I love the Orwo Chapter. No idea what it means, but it’s strong work. On Facebook, she’s leading a double life as Tia Danko. Not sure about all the backstory, but all that matters is that the work is interesting. She lives in Slovakia. It’s a big world out there. (Edit/Clarification: She writes that Orwo is an expired GDR film that’s very unpredictable in its results).
Went to an Artist Books event at Watkins last night. A panel with Karen Hayes from Parnassus, Tony White from Maryland Institute of Art, Cynthia Marsh from Austin Peay; moderated by Robin Paris. Below are some snapshots from the Gallery. Was good to bump into Samantha Angel, Tom Williams and Jessica Clay too. Here are a couple of interesting links from last night: Pogo Books, and Booklyn.
I love this concept. A very basic camera, on the street, using paper negatives. When I was in Havana, Cuba, I met a photographer doing this same thing, and had him photograph me.
On February 18th and 19th, four of us completed a wet-plate collodion workshop with Quinn Jacobson in Denver. Jeanne Jacobson was there too, helping with production, and cleaning of the glass plates. (She’s the master glass plate cleaner). Also there were students Mark Olwick from Seattle, Jessyel Gonzalez from Boulder, and Vivian Keulards from outside of Denver. Kyleigh Morgan came down from Boulder to assist also.
Day One was mostly introductions, and some intense talk about life and photo motivations and goals, and then after lunch, we dove deep into collodion chemistry lessons and safety precautions. By Day Two, we hit the ground running, pouring our own quarter plates, and actually making photographs. Each of us probably shot four or five images by day’s end, followed up by the varnishing of the plates. The collodion can be applied to either black aluminum, clear glass, black glass, or black plexiglass.
Quinn’s teaching style is second to none. He’s encouraging and energetic, knowledgeable about the chemistry, but also has a big heart and a strong passion for people and portrait-making. (Right down my alley!) Below are two images that I made on Sunday, followed by some color production-photos that show the studio and the mechanics of the workshop. To anyone contemplating the steep curve into collodion, I highly recommend Quinn as a teacher and a guide. He’s generous, open, and eager for people to learn the process.
Here is a video feature on Quinn, and wet-plate, by a local Denver TV station. There is a part two link, at the bottom of this page.
Last night, after class, I went to a large presentation by David Hilliard, at Watkins. I’d known his work for years, and honestly, was not that moved by the work. Not sure why — maybe because it was straight color, or maybe it was the multiple panels, or maybe because it felt like view camera photography, (“Hold it, hold it, don’t move, I’ve already pulled the dark slide; hold it, hold it, right there, hold still, three second exposure, freeze”).
But I was pleasantly surprised, and moved by his words, and getting some context behind the images. I had no idea that most of the people in his photographs were his immediate family. That really changed it for me, (for the better). Maybe he was working something out, from his childhood, I don’t know, but the stories he told brought the work full circle. I left there, a new fan.
I met Heidi Kirkpatrick in New Orleans last week, at Photo NOLA. It was so refreshing to see work that wasn’t just straight prints. The pictures in this article, show the strength of the work. Very refreshing approach. Good interview at the link.
Today, I worked with a sweet mother and tiny tiny baby. This image below is just a part of a much larger image that’ll come later. I shot it with this tiny ringlight; wanted it to feel like a suspended reality, almost like still in the womb.
By happenstance, wandered into Deborah Bell Photographs today, with my friend Joerg. A fascinating show of the work of G.P. Fieret, of the Netherlands. He died 2009. Refreshing to see work that was so pure of motivation — it was great to see the real prints, instead of reproductions, in order to see the stained print edges, and the torn corners, and the folded prints with creases. Click the image above for the short YouTube video.
Separate from this, I attended the Alec Soth lecture at FIT the other night. It was dense with thought-provoking concepts. I’d be interested to see how others felt about it. It’s still rolling around inside my head, a day later.
Steamed-up window today — Korean restaurant, on 32nd and Fifth. Below.
A little video of Stumptown Coffee, shot this morning. That place, and the Ace are high on my list.
Here are a few of the images from our last Jack Daniels project. It’s now published in some parts of the world, and about to be in the U.S. This project featured the introduction of Jeff Arnett, as the new Master Distiller. There is a cute video of the baby piglets near the middle of my Video Page.
Sincere thanks to Nelson Eddy, creative director; Jan Mattix, art director; Brett Sahler, producer; Jon Morgan and Derrick Hood, assistants and pig wranglers; Anna Webb, prop stylist; Randall Fanning, local production; Terry Holt, inspiration and cherry picker; and of course, Jack Bateman, for just being there.
Here’s an image (that I messed with after I submitted it to the client). We shot this in the summer, up in New Jersey, ironically, in a garage — not in the ocean; not in a lake; not in a pond. Creative Director: Alison Donalty; Designer: Ray Shappell. There is quite a bit of type overlaying this image; had to leave it pretty empty and sparse.
Driving home today, I came upon this yard in my neighborhood. It completely took me back to my grandmother’s yard in rural Kentucky, when I was a kid. With winter coming on, she’d go into the basement and bring out an entire stack of lightweight blankets and sheets to cover the late-blooming flowers and tender bushes. Today, the light was just amazing, coming thru these plastic bags that someone had rigged up.
I dropped by the Linden School “Elves Faire” today for awhile. Ran upon an elf that was maybe eight or nine feet fall, and lived in the forest, and was quite stylishly dressed.
I saw this guy’s work featured today on Five Hundred Photographers – Eric Tabuchi. I guess this touches on the OCD in me, but I love anyone who does series work like this. Check out Abandoned Gas Stations, Small Buildings, Roadside Flowers, Restricted Areas, Chinese Restaurants, and the best: Alphabet Trucks. Beautiful work, and I applaud his commitment and discipline.
PSS. And from the Comments, here’s another related one, contributed by Tom Henkel.
We’re still retouching and assembling photographs from the new Amtrak advertising campaign. This morning, the first ad ran in USA Today. We shot the talent and the train interiors outside of Orlando, Florida, and then shot the scenics in southern California. Like all advertising projects now, that run in print and on the web, the size proportions are pretty extreme, from tight verticals and extreme horizontals. It was a big adventure; especially the southern California portion. Thanks goes out to Kelly Cooper and Bill Cutter in Arnold/DC, and Andrea Ricker in Arnold/Boston. Producer: Brett Sahler; Retouching: Tyler Huff, Pixelspace; Assistants: Derrick Hood and Jon Morgan; Tech: Erik Hillard. Four more ads to come.
Yesterday, we did two sessions. The main one was with Emily Leonard, fine artist and just interesting person. How fun to collaborate with another creative person.
On Wednesday, we stopped in to see Sam, from Smiling Elephant restaurant, on 8th Avenue South. Sam is the brother of Patti Myint, who runs International Market and PM and is the Queen of Belmont. Behind the Smiling Elephant is an auto repair garage, and Sam worked on cars for years, and one day, he began to build out the front building, after hours, into a Thai restaurant.
Several months ago, I made my first visit to his new restaurant. When I walked up to the cashier counter to pay my Tab, there was a Buddha sitting on the counter, and I asked him about it. It turns out, it was not a Buddha, but a famous meditation teacher in Thailand. He told me the story of this man’s life. I told him I’d begun to practice meditation. He began to talk to me about my breath, and about his various techniques of his own meditation. People were beginning to line up behind me, eager to pay and get on their way, but Sam was not phased by this — he continued to talk to me patiently, and tell me his own story.
The next time I went in the restaurant — this time for take out — I was sitting on the little bench by the cashier counter, waiting for my food, and Sam came over to me and said, unprompted, “You know, the main thing in life is to give our bodies healthy food, and to provide for our families.” We began to talk again, about health, and meditation, and life goals. He’d look right into my eyes, his big bushy eyebrows moving above his sparkling eyes. We barely knew each other, but we talked as if we’d been friends for years.
Now, we swap books, and literature on meditation, when I go into the restaurant. I see him now and give him a big hug — I’m not sure how he feels about that, but he goes along with it. So he seemed perfect for my new little portrait series — a man who’s unique and interesting, and is contributing positive energy to those around him. His restaurant is booming, with lines out the front door every day at lunch, and soon, my bet is that he’ll have to renovate the auto garage out back, in order to accomodate all the customers, and his continued success. He’s a special man.
I go to this old-timey grocery store on Belmont Boulevard, near my new house. I’m not sure why — they don’t really have the freshest produce, or most anything organic. I’m just drawn there. I go there and buy cooked meat, back in their deli. It’s one of the few last bastions of the Old South — beans, meat, and barbeque cooked daily. The floors are waxed clean and shiny, even though they’re very old. They only recently added the ability to pay with a credit card. It just feels like home.
When I was a kid, my family owned five small convenience stores in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ever since I was about twelve years old, I started bagging groceries and working in those markets. Worked in them all the way through high school and college. I can stock a shelf with the best of them. I can clean a milk cooler. I can run a register and make change quickly. It was useful to learn how to talk to strangers, when I was a dorky, stoner, redneck kid. It sorta socialized me. It’s helped in my adult life, as a photographer.
Anyway, I go into this grocery, and I always see the night manager there. His name is James. He’s about 6’2″, but he seems about seven feet tall, because he’s so thin. He’s always running around at a hundred miles an hour, stocking shelves, and running the place. He always is fitted with his ball point pens, a nametag, and most of the time with one of those back supports, like those Home Depot guys wear. He said he has a problem with his back. So here is James — he is just so awesome to me. He is America. He seems like a guy that could be in a Mayberry RFD episode, along with Otis and Barney and Andy.
Session with Sara Burgers on Friday. In the end, we went to those flooded-out mobile homes on Nolensville Road, and finished there. Those trailers are calling out for a photo project of their very own, but I guess Robert Polidori already claimed that photo content. Nonetheless, it’s an amazing location.
Shot at a bar on Division Street, Wednesday. Beautiful detailed work on her arm. Great face.
Ian Leach, from Imogene and Willie, yesterday morning. Very nice guy; great store, too.
I recently moved into a new home. Today, we started a new series of Testing portraits. My friend Buddy Jackson told me about a jewel of a fine man, who happens to live down the street from me. He’s 95 years old, still drives his big Lincoln to the grocery, and still has a strong singing voice. He likes blues songs, but prefers to sing church spirituals.
In the video below, Mr. Sherill walked across the street, to ask his friend and neighbor Julie Lee, if she’d sing with him. They’ve been friends for a many years.
Got a call from Andrew last night. He was shooting a job in Louisville, and then driving direct to Atlanta today for another project. He and his assistant stopped in Nashville this morning for breakfast; I met them and showed them around town. It was Andrew’s first time through town. Anyone from out of town, who’s in the business, has to be taken to Hatch Show Print, so we started there, walked over to Tootsie’s and Robert’s, and then had breakfast at Bongo. Andrew’s always been an inspiration to me — we compare notes on eating healthy foods; exercise; shopping at Whole Foods; and staying healthy. We always talk shop, but the friendship is larger than that. He’s a fine man; a well-balanced guy. Here’s a quick frame of him at Hatch this morning, using my Poor Man’s Depth-Of-Field Technique.
A friend of mine kept a Vision Board by her desk in her office. I’d never heard of the concept before. But recently, I’ve seen a couple references to them. For me, I keep this Folder on my Desktop, and when I see something on FFFFound or Yimmy or Eric Baker, I just drag it off into that Folder. Later on, I found a way to dump them into Lightroom and easily make a 5×7 print of each one. I’ve started plastering one of the walls in my new office with these prints; and soon, they’re going to take over the room. (But what a nice way to be reminded of what/how you want to shoot). I tend to be drawn to tight faces, or historical images, or damn near anything that’s Hasselblad and B/W. I just use this board like a “Mental Rudder” to stay reminded of what’s important, and to keep the flame alive, and to keep shooting for myself, and to keep exploring. Part of me wants to spray them with glue on the back, so they become a permanent part of the room. Imagine your entire office, covered with wonderful images.
Also, yesterday, the postman brought me this beautiful package wrapped in brown kraft paper. My dear friend Alison Donalty in NY had sent me a housewarming gift. She’d seen a group of artists on Etsy do a series of famous quotes, on letterpress. So this sweet little poster arrived, along with some other smaller cards, done by Mary Kate McDevitt, in Portland. The outside of the package was so nicely done that I waited for several hours before even opening the package. Then, by last night, my curiosity got the best of me. How nice to touch real paper again, and run your fingers over that ink. (Everything I do now seems to be done on this Macintosh and FTP’d; I rarely make a print on real paper any more). (This is about to change…; stay tuned).
Just back from extended little road trip. Here are a couple of outtake images shot a couple days ago, at El Matador. Stunning weather out there; yesterday it was 113 degrees in downtown LA. But at the beach, much more calm and peaceful. These are quickies that I worked up on the plane today. For a couple of reasons, Los Angeles was hard to leave this time.